It's kind of becoming a well known fact, but I am a bit of a premium Fuente whore. I'll admit it freely. I love me an Opus. I love me an Anejo. I even love me a God of Fire (to a lesser extent). So...after a particular rotten Monday at work, I decide I need a treat. Gifted to me by a VERY generous brother, this one has been sitting for a few months now and is ready to go. For some reason, this particular stick does not get the run the others do. And as a matter of fact, I discovered in another thread that some folks have not even heard of it. Here are the facts as I know them:
1. CONSIDERABLY rarer than the Opus and Anejo with 750 boxes of 10 in each of the 3 sizes.
2. Rumored to be the same wrapper as the Opus, although this is unconfirmed. It sure looks like an Opus wrapper to my eyes, what do you guys think?
So lets giver her a whirl, shall we?
What a pretty cigar! Any veins you may think you are seeing are just tricks of the light. Construction, balance, and heft are everything you would expect from high line Fuente. For those of you that have not joined that club just yet, flawless.
I take her outside (where it is 60 degrees and cloudless!) and light her up. Stunningly well balanced and complex from very first light. Cedar, leather, pepper, dried fruit (apricots, maybe), and espresso wash over me. I immediately decide I need a beverage to compliment such as occasion and that my pedestrian water will not do. I scurry back into the house for a glass of port. The port is sweet but not cloying and this adds a lovely counterpoint.
Flavors tap me on the shoulder from time to time while others excuse themselves silently. Sometimes a little sweeter, sometimes floral and fragrant, never announcing themselves loudly...always in balance. Contrast this with the Tat brand that I gave up on altogether for a lack of flavor control.
Burning down towards the end and she has not gone soft or hot. Even when moving my finger to the very tip I can feel no uncomfortable heat.
I can think of no good reason why these are not more popular. To my taste, they are clearly the middle brother between the stronger Opus, and the milder Anejo. Some will say that the sticker price scares people away (about $25), but I do not see that stopping folks from buying the Padron Annys, Gods of Fire, and the Opuses (even though I have never seen an Opus on the shelf I know what non-Fuente dealers upcharge for them). Definitely not an everyday smoke, but an excellent special occasion stogie. Right now, it is the current leader for the coveted Christmas 2010 smoke with the father in law (maybe GRANDfather in law by then...*winkwink*) as I have another 2. And I would not hesitate to pay full retail to put another few away as well. Not sure where it ranks with the Opus/Anejo tandem, but for me it deserves to stand on the stage with them, and that makes it pretty damned good. Now, to track down one of the Arturo Funte Gran Anniverxario...